I picked up a slim hardbound copy of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's A Gift from the Sea last month on a thrifting excursion. I vaguely recalled some reference to it years ago and a quick paging through while standing in the store aisle made me sure she had put words to my own thoughts in several places.
Admittedly I ruined it for myself after reading more about the author's own messy personal life. Still, I have picked it up again and again and scribbled out bits into my notebook. The first day of lent brought back this description of her life and her ultimate goal which I can readily identify with:
“The shape of my life is, of course, determined by many things; I have a husband...children...and a home. I have also a craft, therefore work I would like to pursue. The shape of my life is of course determined by many other things; my background and childhood, my mind and its education, my conscience and its pressures, my heart and its desires...
I want to give and take from my children and my husband, to share with friends and community, to carry out my obligations to man and to the world as a woman, as an artist, and as a citizen.
But I want first of all - in fact as an end to these other desires - to be at peace with myself.
I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eyes of God.
I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.
I want, in fact--to borrow from the language of the saints--to 'live in grace' as much of the time as possible."
That is it really. It is why we fast and pray. It is to put all those raging passions in their place with hope that at the end of it we find a different sort of peace, that our lives will line up more closely with the will of God, that we will be able to carry out our vocation more sincerely and selflessly.
In short, grace.